Our UC Riverside men’s and women’s basketball season starts this upcoming weekend with an exhibition game Nov. 3 at the Student Recreation Center.

The women’s basketball team will face off against Cal Baptist at 3 p.m and following that game the men’s team will square off against San Diego Christian at 7 p.m..

The men’s team is filled with eight young freshmen and will be led by senior Robert Smith. The Highlander fan base will be the driving focal point to help the team thrive through the season, along with the great coaching from Jim Wooldridge. Yet, they must wait until next season for the playoffs.

Wooldridge and UCR kept three players on scholarship for the 2010-11 school year, and made them subject to counting under the Academic Progress Rate scoring system. The system awards points for each semester/quarter a player stays eligible and stays in school. However, the players dropped away and did not continue classes.

Their hopes of going to the Big West Conference playoffs are shattered, even if they go undefeated. This puts a damper to the team’s season, but they will need all the support to get through this season. This does not mean to forget about the men’s basketball season and not show up. It is now more important than ever that we show the Highlander pride we have at this great and wonderful school.

Moving on to the women’s basketball team. The Big West Conference released its 2012-13 Preseason Poll and they selected the UC Riverside women’s basketball team to finish eighth. Senior guard Tre’Shonti Nottingham was also picked to the preseason all-conference team.

The team has averaged 15.9 wins per season and has made the postseason in five of eight years, all the while winning three Big West Tournament titles and one Big West Conference regular season title during Margaritis’ UC Riverside tenure. The women’s team has a legit shot with their young core to make back to the playoffs, and Nottingham can lead the Highlanders there.

Show some Highlander pride. Come out this Saturday, Nov. 3, to support the Highlander basketball squads. Let’s start out the season with a bang.